Japan to assist Gorontalo maize farmers

Gorontalo (Antara News) - Japan has promised to provide 20 units of Yanmar and Kubota tractors for Gorontalo maize farmers to help increase their production, Yasin Muhamad of Gorontalo`s Agriculture and Food Resilience Service said here on Friday.

"The Japanese assistance is expected to arrive in Gorontalo in the middle of August," Yasin said adding that the agricultural vehicles would support one of the regional government`s primary agricultural programs.

He said the Japanese assistance would be a grant to Gorontalo farmers and was promised by the Japanese government when Gorontalo Governor Fadel Muhammad visited Japan in 2005.

"Japan was interesed in Gorontalo`s agropolitan program so that it agreed to provide us with the tractors," the governor said.

He said the Gorontalo provincial government would continue to give attention to its farmers in order to develop the local people`s economy.

Besides, Gorontalo`s human resources must also be developed, the governor said.

"Efforts to increase the farmers` production must be followed by efforts to improve the province`s human resources," Fadel added.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said last month it would help the Gorontalo administration lure more Japanese investors to the maize-producing province, the agency`s adviser, Shinobu Umeda, said.

"This year we plan to study the potentials of Gorontalo because the province has a very favorable investment climate," Umeda said during his visit here recently.

The fisheries sector including seaweed cultivation had attracted Japanese investors, he said, adding that he would visit the seaweed cultivation center in Teluk Kwandang on Friday (July 14).

In the meantime, Mahendar Siregar, deputy to the coordinating minister for economy, dealing with economic cooperation and international investment, said his office would cooperate with JICA in promoting Gorontalo in international business forums.

"However, before giving more information to prospective investors, we should first study which of Gorontalo`s commodities have a competitive edge compared to commodities from other provinces," Mahendar said. (*)
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